PEAST CHINA SEA (March 11, 2015) Marines attached to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU) depart the well deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) in combat rubber raiding crafts. Green Bay, part of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group, along with the embarked 31st MEU is conducting a certification exercise. U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Scott Barnes
CNRSW addresses southwest water, energy challenges
by Melinda Larson, Naval Support Activity Monterey Public Affairs
MONTEREY, Calif. (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Patrick Lorge, commander, Navy Region Southwest, shared his region's energy efficiency and water sustainability challenges during the Association of Defense Communities's (ADC) Installation Innovation Forum 2015 in Monterey California, March 16.
Installation Innovation Forum 2015, a national installation-focused professional development event, explored cutting-edge developments that are reshaping how installations are managed and the way communities and installations work together.
"I need secure water supplies to ensure my mission sets are protected," Lorge said during the Forum's "Water Resource Security at Installations" presentation. "We must continue to reduce water and energy consumption."
One of the most pressing environmental issues for Lorge, and other defense communities in the western United States, is securing a reliable source of drinking water that can meet the needs of installations and their host communities. A supervisor from a county where the Navy's largest installation is located echoed Lorge's need for a sustainable water supply.
"How do we ensure adequate water for supply for everyone, especially Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake? The county is preparing ways to rezone and rebound. Water vulnerability is another type of encroachment," said Mick Gleason, Kern County Supervisor.
Encompassing 1.1 million acres, NAWS China Lake fills a critical role in the nation's defense, and Kern County's economy.
"China Lake is of strategic importance to this country. It is a one-of-a-kind place with capabilities that cannot be duplicated elsewhere. We're working together with Kern County and its advocates to protect this jewel in the desert. There is strength when we partner with our host communities," Lorge added.
Another panel member noted renewable energy and water conservation challenges are being addressed by the entire Department of Defense.
"We're working to identify water rights and availability. Most water needs are based on past usage. We must quantify how much water we need to execute our missions while continuing to be a sustainable member in our communities. Navy Region Southwest has a great reputation for bringing down its water use," said Rebecca Patton, Project Management Professional, Climate Change Adaptation Integration, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment.
As energy costs continue to eat away at installation budgets, the importance of sustainable water supplies and renewable energy for the armed services will increase, along with a culture of conservation and community partnerships.
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PACIFIC OCEAN (March 13, 2015) Gunner's Mate 3rd Class John Lipper fires a shot line to the crew aboard the Military Sea Lift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187) during a replenishment-at-sea with the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18). U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Brandon Cyr
USS New Orleans conducts sea trials
by Ens. Chloe J. Morgan, USS New Orleans Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) completed a five-day sea trials period March 13 following an eight-month planned maintenance availability period.
During the underway period, New Orleans' crew members tested a number of shipboard systems including damage control systems, navigational equipment and the propulsion plant.
The crew also conducted several checks to prepare for its upcoming Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) inspection scheduled to take place later this year.
Sea trials gave the ship's crew an opportunity to operate and test equipment as designed following a lengthy maintenance period. According to Capt. Doug Verissimo, New Orleans' commanding officer, it also gave the crew a chance to train.
"The crew shook off the dust from the maintenance period and performed exceptionally well," said Verissimo. "Our newest Sailors were able to learn how the ship operates underway, and the emphasis was on safe and precise evolutions."
The Inspection and Readiness Team (IRAT) conducted numerous checks to ensure the ship would be ready for its upcoming INSURV. On their first visit, the team checked if equipment was functional and annotated discrepancies to be fixed before INSURV.
"IRAT was incredibly helpful," said Lt. Chris Stone, the ship's operations officer. "They happily shared their vast experience and knowledge with the crew and have already helped contribute to the ships readiness and on-going preparations. We look forward to having them on board at every opportunity as we continue to prepare and rehearse for INSURV."
INSURV is a congressionally-mandated inspection of Navy ships that occurs every three to six years to ensure ships are fit to conduct sustained combat operations. The inspection team evaluates a ship's readiness to conduct combat operations at sea and to systematically check installed equipment.
USS Ronald Reagan flight deck drill
SAN DIEGO (March 18, 2015) Sailors pull on the aircraft barricade net during a flight deck drill aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Ronald Reagan is undergoing a planned incremental availability maintenance period at Naval Base Coronado. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Jonathan Nelson.
Navy scientists develop prototype for diver life support
by Jacqui Barker, Office of Public Affairs,
Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Public Affairs
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City (NSWC PC) scientists have developed a prototype for a new life support system for divers the Navy announced March 19.
The goal of the new system is to accelerate the deployment of Navy divers, increase safety, and also conserve helium, a valuable natural resource.
"This new, semi-closed system was conceived to drastically reduce helium requirements," said NSWC PC Principal Investigator Dr. John Camperman. "And where possible we also incorporated proven technology in the system in order to speed transition to operators."
Currently, U.S. Navy mobile diving and salvage units meet their requirement for manned diving operations with the Fly-Away Mixed Gas System (FMGS). The FMGS provides breathing gas through an umbilical to a demand regulated, open circuit, diver-worn helmet. In each breathing cycle all inhalation is from surface supplied gas, and all exhalant vents to the sea. In the process a large portion of oxygen and helium are wasted.
"The new system modifies the current helmet and rebreather. Prototype analysis and testing have shown that drastic reduction in helium consumption is possible," said Camperman. "Testing of the new prototype system indicates that the full range of FMGS diving is supportable within Navy life support requirements, and that several life support characteristics are improved, including extended emergency come-home gas duration."
Conserving helium can produce a snowball-like effect. FMGS operational cost is driven by transportation, support vessel size, and consumables (largely helium). Reducing helium requirements will reduce deck space requirements, and can thereby positively impact all three cost variables.
The new life support system is part of the Initial Response Diving (IRD) project. IRD is a Navy innovative science and engineering initiative to support faster recovery of objects in deep waters. The ultimate goal of IRD is to provide military diver intervention to depths of 600 feet anywhere in the world. The goal would put diver's hands on targets for recovery within 36 hours of deployment.
The implications of this project have international and humanitarian significance. The IRD project could support life-saving rescues for survivors trapped in a capsized hull, or subsea infrastructure maintenance. The project could also enhance disabled submarine assessment and escape, or rapidly recover sensitive debris from vessels, aircraft or spacecraft.
The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division conducts research, development, test and evaluation, in-service support of mine warfare systems, mines, naval special warfare systems, diving and life support systems, amphibious/expeditionary maneuver warfare systems, and other missions that occur primarily in coastal (littoral) regions. It is a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).
U.S. Naval Test Pilot School celebrates 70 years
by Donna Cipolloni, Naval Air Station Patuxent River Public Affairs
PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (NNS) -- More than 300 staff, students and graduate "Testers" of U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) celebrated 70 years since the school was established at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River March 12.
One of four major test pilot schools in the world, USNTPS has trained many distinguished Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force and international aviators and engineers, including 87 U.S. astronauts.
"TPS is a tight-knit community that is always there for each other," said Army Lt. Col. Gregory Fortier, commanding officer of USNTPS. "The community always comes together to serve, to work the problems and deliver solutions. Look no further than to the men and women in this hangar today."
"This school has a rich tradition and a very bright future," added Fortier. "May we continue to draw upon the energy in this hangar to propel ourselves into the next phase of producing mission-relevant Testers."
It all started in 1943 when the Navy's flight test group, located at NAS Anacostia, Maryland, transferred to the newly-established NAS Patuxent River.
The school moved four different times during its history until their present academic facility, building 2168, was built in 1993.
USNTPS is the only test pilot school in the U.S. military that offers academic courses on helicopters, and the only one in the world for airborne systems.
USNTPS has trained well-known aviators including many of the early astronauts who helped launch the U.S. space program.
Today, USNTPS provides instruction to Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force aviators, international aviators/engineers, and civil service engineers. Accepting 36 students at a time for courses lasting approximately 48 weeks, a class convenes each February and August.
SECNAV announces ship to be named after first MCPON, Delbert D. Black
by MC1 Stuart B. Phillips,
Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus announced that the future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer (DDG 119) will be named USS Delbert D. Black after the first master chief petty officer of the Navy (MCPON) at a ship naming ceremony held at the Navy Memorial in Washington March 13.
The ceremony was attended by numerous distinguished visitors, to include MCPON Black's surviving widow, Mrs. Ima Black, as well as the current MCPON, Mike Stevens.
As Stevens introduced SECNAV to the audience, he hinted at the name of the future ship about to be revealed to the public.
"I think it's safe for me to say that the ship that's about to be named will always be manned at 100 percent in the Chief's Mess," said Stevens. They won't have trouble keeping chiefs on it, but I know they will have trouble getting chiefs to transfer off it."
After his introduction, SECNAV explained that the role of the office of the MCPON is to act as an advisor to the chief of naval operations and to represent Sailors and their families.
"The MCPON doesn't just care for our Sailors and Marines though," said Mabus. Through partnerships with our spouse organizations, he also is the voice for the hundreds of thousands of family members. For them as well, he is an educator, a spokesperson, an advocate."
Born July 22, 1922, in Orr, Oklahoma, Delbert D. Black graduated from high school in 1940 and enlisted in the Navy on March 14, 1941. Upon completion of recruit training in San Diego, California, he was assigned to USS Maryland (BB 46) and was aboard in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Surviving the attack, Black's career went on to span thirty years, culminating in his selection as the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy on Jan. 13, 1967.
NORFOLK (March 11, 2015) The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) departs Naval Station Norfolk for a scheduled deployment. The deployment is part of a regular rotation of forces to support maritime security operations, provide crisis response capability, and increase theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Justin Wolpert
Theodore Roosevelt deploys for world tour... destination San Diego
by MCSN Wyatt L. Anthony,
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs
NORFOLK (NNS) -- The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) departed its homeport in Norfolk for an around-the-world deployment, March 11.
TR and its Sailors will conduct operations in the U.S. Navy's 5th, 6th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility during the deployment.
"The crew has done an absolutely stellar job getting TR ready for deployment," said Capt. Daniel C. Grieco, TR's commanding officer. "We're at the point where the ship's systems are perfect and ready to go and the crew is as sharp as they can possibly be."
The deployment is part of an ongoing rotation of U.S. forces supporting maritime security operations in international waters around the world.
"This is a unique deployment that will actually encompass three different areas of responsibility or AORs," said Grieco. "We will start off going to 6th Fleet, which is in the Mediterranean, then head on to 5th Fleet, the Middle East, and we will continue through 7th Fleet area of operations before we wind up at the end in San Diego."
Working with allied and partner maritime forces, TR will focus heavily on maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts, which help establish conditions for regional stability.
"This is my first deployment," said Damage Controlman Fireman Norman Sanders, from Portage, Indiana. "I just know that it will be a great learning experience, and will give me opportunities I have never had before, so I am very excited."
The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG) consists of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12, TR, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2 staff, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and the guided-missile destroyers USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) and USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81).
"This will be my 11th deployment and my fifth set of work-ups in a command position. We are more ready to conduct sustained operations at sea as we embark on this deployment than ever before," said Rear Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander, Carrier Strike Group 12. "The Strike Group's components, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Carrier Air Wing One, Destroyer Squadron 2, and the USS Normandy, are mission-focused and well led. We are grateful for the support of the maintenance and training communities as well as the type commands preparing us for this deployment. I want to thank the families and friends of our people for their support and service to our Navy. I know you are tremendously proud of each and every Sailor and Marine in the Strike Group. I am personally committed to their safety and security, and I am confident these great Americans will persevere in every mission."
The five ships and nine aircraft squadrons of TRCSG consist of approximately 6,000 Sailors and Marines who have spent the last year conducting intensive training and certification exercises to establish a safe, cohesive organization capable of performing a wide variety of missions across the globe, ranging from counter-piracy and ground support operations to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
TR's deployment will be a world tour, which will end with her completing a homeport shift to San Diego. TR's change in homeport is part of a three carrier shift involving the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and the USS George Washington (CVN 74).
Theodore Roosevelt, named in honor of the 26th U.S. President, was commissioned Oct. 25, 1984 as the 4th Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.
Join the conversation with TR online at www.facebook.com/USSTheodoreRoosevelt and www.Twitter.com/TheRealCVN71. For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.
DoD 2015 military pay and compensation rates
by Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Department of Defense 2015 military pay and compensation rates for service members have most service members receiving a one percent increase in basic pay.
The new rates for basic pay, basic allowance for housing, basic allowance for subsistence, and the cost of living allowance rates for the contiguous United States will take effect on Jan. 1, 2015.
Basic pay for service members will increase one percent, except for general and flag officers who will not see an increase in 2015. For example, an E-4 with 3 years of service will see an increase in basic pay of $22.20 per month, while an O-3 with 6 years of service will receive a basic pay increase of $54.30 per month in 2015.
Basic allowance for housing rates for service members in 2015 will increase on average $17 per month, or 0.5 percent. Rates are calculated using median current market rent and average utilities (including electricity, heat, and water/sewer) for each pay grade, both with and without dependents. Two changes were made to BAH rate computations for 2015: renter's insurance, which contributed an average of one percent to rates, was eliminated, and the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act reduced housing rates on average one percent for service members.
However, individual rate protection for service members remains an integral part of the BAH program. This means that even if BAH rates decline - including through the elimination of renter's insurance and the reduction in the calculated rate - a service member who maintains uninterrupted BAH eligibility in a given location will not see a rate decrease. This ensures that service members who have made long-term commitments in the form of a lease or contract are not penalized if local housing costs decrease.
Service members can calculate their BAH payment by using the basic allowance for housing calculator here.
The 2015 basic allowance for subsistence rates for military members will increase by 2.9 percent over last year. The new rates are:
* $367.92 per month for enlisted members
* $253.38 per month for officers
The annual adjustments to basic allowance for subsistence -- a monthly nontaxable cash payment to military members intended to be used to buy food -- are linked to changes in food prices as measured by the annual change in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cost of Food at Home Index. From the beginning of October 2013 through the end of September 2014, the index rose by 2.9 percent, forming the basis for the increased BAS rates.
The Defense Department also released its 2015 contiguous United States cost of living allowance rates. Roughly 12,000 members will see a decrease in their CONUS COLA payments, while some 7,000 members will see an increase or no change, and 4,000 members will no longer receive a CONUS COLA payment.
CONUS COLA is a taxable supplemental allowance designed to help offset higher prices in high-cost locations, and rates vary based on location, pay grade, years of service and dependent status. Rates can increase or decrease depending on the prices in a specific duty location compared to prices in an average CONUS location. Service members can calculate their CONUS COLA rate here.
5 things you need to know about
flat rate per diem
From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- To provide an incentive to Sailors and civilians on long-term temporary duty assignment (TDY) to seek out extended-stay lodgings, the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) was changed Nov. 1.
The change to a flat rate will help the Department of Defense (DoD) save more than $22 million a year and is in keeping with what many federal agencies already outline for reduced travel rates for longer stays.
Here are five things you need to know about flat rate per diem:
1. Long-term TDY is any temporary duty longer than 30 days. Travel from 31 to 180 days will receive a flat-rate per diem of 75 percent. For travel greater than 180 days, the flat-rate per diem will be at 55 percent. Flat rate will apply to all three parts of the per diem - lodging, meals and incidentals.
2. When staying in government lodging, a traveler will be reimbursed for actual lodging costs. The flat rate per diem does not apply when government lodging or contracted government lodging is available and directed, when contracted government lodging is provided at no cost, or if a traveler chooses to stay in government quarters.
3. Currently the Defense Travel System (DTS) does not automatically calculate the reduced per diem based on the length of the TDY. Travelers should follow their component guidelines for how to handle TDY in DTS.
4. Travelers may consider furnished apartments or similar types of lodging, which are typically cheaper than the standard room rate at commercial hotels. This policy change also simplifies travel expense management as you will not be required to submit lodging receipts or itemize utilities and furniture rental when renting a home, if receiving the flat rate per diem.
5. You still have options if you are unable to find extended-stay lodging within a reasonable distance of the duty location, or if additional costs arise. You may work with your approving official to do actual-expense authorizations, which may go above the flat-rate per diem to 100 percent, if needed. At no time should travelers end up paying out-of-pocket for authorized TDY expenses.
For further information visit www.defensetravel.dod.mil.